Travelling abroad for IVF. Is this the right decision?
There isn’t really a right answer to this question on whether travelling abroad for IVF is right for you. It really depends on how far down your IVF journey you are. For some people travelling abroad for IVF is a last resort. They have tried all the options at home and lack of money has become a big motivating factor. For others, travelling abroad makes sense right from the beginning. They might have already tried it or their research has led to that decision. So what are the reasons that would lead someone to consider that it was the right time?
Low cost IVF treatment
It is a fact that in general, IVF treatment abroad is cheaper than private treatment in the UK. Egg donation treatment in the Czech Republic, Spain, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece all costs less than the UK. On average in the Czech Republic, for example, the cost is around 5000 Euros. The clinics are not any less successful or less sophisticated than clinics in the UK. They have up to date equipment and highly trained staff and their success rates are comparable with the best clinics here. If money is becoming an issue, then the chance to have low cost treatment is a big driver to go abroad.
A motivating factor for some people is the fact that the donor is anonymous unlike in the UK. There is a lot of debate about this issue, but it is the case that some people do prefer the fact that there will be no further link to their donor. This is usually a well thought out decision and means that in this case the time to go abroad is at the beginning of the donor egg journey.
No waiting lists
This is a big factor for many people seeking to travel abroad for IVF and egg donation. For some, the reason to consider IVF abroad is due to the fact that they can almost certainly start treatment when they want to because there are usually no waiting lists. Donor anonymity has meant that IVF clinics abroad have many donors to choose from. This doesn’t mean that anyone can donate. In fact, egg and sperm donors are very well screened and a high percentage that comes forward is turned down. Having this flexibility about when to start treatment gives couples some control back.
IVF Success Rates
Success rates for egg donation are very good in many of the clinics abroad. Of course there will be a spread of results just as there is in the UK. Some of the success in pregnancy rates can be put down to the fact that more than one embryo may be being transferred during an embryo transfer procedure. This will certainly have an impact on the success of the treatment. It also has impact on the chance of having a multiple pregnancy, and the risk this carries. Some countries do have restrictions in place on the number of embryos which can be transferred for egg donation treatment and IVF, but they tend to be more generous than the UK. So, while success rates are good, it is worth asking the clinic for the pregnancy rate per embryo transferred rather than per embryo transfer procedure.
Travelling abroad for IVF is not for everyone and in fact it needn’t be an option at all. But if money or waiting time for treatment is becoming an issue then this may be the right time to consider it.
Caroline Phillips is the owner of www.fertilityclinicsabroad.com. This is a website which provides information and resources to people seeking IVF abroad including featured IVF clinics and staff interviews.